BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 1 (Reuters) – Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest plans to invest up to $ 8.4 billion in “green hydrogen” in Argentina, the South American government announced on Monday. ‘after a meeting between the businessman and President Alberto Fernandez. .
Forrest, whose Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (FMG.AX) aims to become carbon neutral by 2030, is a major proponent of green hydrogen, a carbon-free fuel made by electrolysis using renewable energy to split l water to hydrogen and oxygen.
Although currently more expensive than competing fuels, donors are promoting it as a clean replacement for fossil fuels in industries that are otherwise difficult to decarbonize. The International Renewable Energy Agency predicts rapid growth in the coming years.
Fortescue plans to develop the project in the province of Río Negro with a view to producing green hydrogen on an industrial scale, which the government says will help create more than 15,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“It should turn Río Negro into a global green hydrogen export hub by 2030,” the government said. “It is the most important international investment for our country in the last 20 years.”
Fernandez and Forrest, he said, met on the sidelines of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Agustin Pichot, Latin American director of Fortescue Future Industries, the mining company’s green energy unit, told a press conference alongside government officials that the project would be one of the largest in society to the world.
“We signed a memorandum of understanding a few months ago and today we are talking about an investment of around $ 8 billion,” he said.
The Australian company will conduct an analysis of local resources as well as the availability of wind power, which it uses as the main source of energy for power generation. If that goes well, public consultations and other construction work would begin.
A $ 1.2 billion pilot stage aimed at producing 35,000 tonnes of green hydrogen is planned for 2022-2024, before a first production stage of $ 7.2 billion targeting a production of around 215,000 tonnes of green hydrogen. green hydrogen – enough to power 1.6 million homes.
Reporting by Nicolas Misculin and Agustin Geist; Editing Adam Jourdan, Peter Cooney and Marguerita Choy
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